The moments following a car accident can feel overwhelming and you may not always know what to do next. It’s important to remember that the health and safety of everyone involved should always be your first priority. Don’t worry about gathering evidence or talking to witnesses unless it is safe to do so. If you have been in a minor accident or suffered minimal injuries, you may be able to talk with bystanders and ask them a few questions. We sat down with our Alberta Personal Injury Lawyers to find out which questions you should be asking a witness.
“Can I have your contact information?”
This may be the single most important question you can ask an eyewitness to any collision, including minor accidents. A witness may be in shock themselves and not think to mention all the details of what they saw. Or they may be in a rush to get to work or wherever they were going when the accident took place. An eyewitness statement can be incredibly helpful with insurance and injury claims. By getting a witness’ contact information, you will have a way to reach them in the coming days and weeks if need be.
Remember that adrenaline is often running high and even though you may feel ‘fine’, it can take hours, days, or even weeks to realize the full extent of your injuries. It is not uncommon for minor accidents to result in neck trauma, whiplash injuries, and concussions. You may also discover more damage to your vehicle than you are able see at the scene of the accident.
“Can you describe what happened?”
In many cases, an accident seemingly happens out of nowhere. Witnesses can help you piece together what happened. You may want to ask the witness to tell you what they saw from their perspective. If possible, you can ask them to write it down, take a voice recording, or even draw a sketch. No detail is too small. You may want to ask follow-up questions like… When did you notice the accident? Where were you when the crash happened? What did you see or hear? These types of questions could assist you if you need to make a claim or answer questions from your insurance provider.
Write these questions down and put them somewhere in your car (or save the photo below) as part of your accident preparedness kit. This helps take the guesswork out of what to do if you get into a collision.
It is important to report your accident to the police. Whether they attend the scene of the accident, or you file a report at a police station afterwards, be sure to give the police any witness information you have. The police may wish to contact witnesses for more information or ask them to make a statement.
In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of an accident to make a Personal Injury claim in court, or your right to do so is lost forever. Although you have a two-year window, it’s important not to wait, as there may be other important deadlines or circumstances that may affect your claim.
Injured in an accident? We’re here for you.
You shouldn’t have to cover the cost of medical treatments or lost time from work because of someone else’s negligence. An injury claim can get you the compensation you deserve. And even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to make a claim. We’ve been helping injured Albertans since 1976, and we have a team that truly cares about you and your well-being. Our Alberta Personal Injury lawyers are here to reduce your stress so that you can focus on your recovery.
Have questions? Give us a call or fill out our contact form online and we’ll get back to you. You’ll always hear back from us within one business day.